About Us - Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

About Us

Meet Victoria

Charming wife, sometimes shrew. Cat mother, book lover. General contractor, dictator. Loather of noise. Hater of disruption. Gardener, bookcase fetishist. Adorer of the oversized and ornate. Obsessive-compulsive procrastinator. Lover of fashion—wearer of pajama pants. Coveter of architectural salvage. Hoarder of priceless junk.

A blog about renovating and restoring our old Victorian house

Meet Paul

Magician, storyteller, fixer of all things broken. Project engineer, mover of walls, slayer of lath. MadMan, Fred Astaire, voice of reason. Performer of comic skits. One-man demolition crew. Fetcher of giant, unwieldy, Craigslist treasures I cannot live without.

A blog about a husband and wife renovating an old Victorian house

Meet Elvis

Swing vote, lap cat. Leader of the revolution.

A blog about a husband and wife restoring an old house

Bathroom details, Kitchen ideas, Materials, Frustration, Construction…

**once you subscribe, you have to look for a confirmation email… complicated, I know.

69 Comments

  1. Sandi

    I’m loving your blog. You have a scintillating voice and vibrant way of expressing yourself.

    And I think your husband is a heckuva guy. :)

    Thanks for dropping by my little corner of WordPress. :)

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Thank you!!! He is definitely a heck of a guy. Renovating this house has left me astonished at his competence… Which isn’t to say we never have skirmishes over who is the Project Manager. :)

      Reply

      • Joyce

        Where dies the name Whetstone Antiques come from?

        Reply

  2. Danielle

    So I kinda, sorta nominated you for some bloggy awards today because I think you’re awesome. :)
    http://storypiece.net/2012/09/18/awards-and-pop-culture-fluff/

    Reply

  3. Jessica@CapeofDreams

    I am so glad I found your blog. I laughed; I cried; it was better than Cats. Cats the musical that is because nothing is better than cats the animals. Speaking of which, it looks like Elvis must have strong opinions about what you do with your house.

    Reply

  4. Tracy

    I nominated you for the One Lovely Blogger Award! For more details: http://thehesoproject.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/lovely-blogger-award/

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Thank you so much! I’ll compile my list of brief but witty anecdotes… and try to come close to the humor of your literal-ness!

      Reply

  5. Backpackology.org

    Love love love love your writing style! I’m sitting in Seoul. I’m supposed to be sightseeing. I’m supposed to be meeting a friend at some market, somewhere. Instead, I am sitting here, already late, reading about varnishes and home improvement and giggling endlessly to myself. I rarely, if ever, read other blogs so this says a great deal. You’ve got such a unique voice. Very funny, very engaging, very well done! Keep up the awesome work!!!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. You absolutely made my day!!

      p.s.- your blog just ate a chunk of my life. Your trip is astonishing! The things you’re doing? Are the exact opposite of anything that I would ever try. Ever.
      Ever.

      Reply

  6. patinaandcompany

    Always enjoying your beautiful site, and now I am letting you know that I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Details of this award can be viewed on my site. Thanks for all the inspiration.

    Reply

  7. Gretchen @ BoxyColonial

    I wandered over from Apartment Therapy, and then I had so much fun that I’m subscribing. It seems like most of the people commenting on this page have some sort of award that they’re nominating you for. I don’t have any awards to give out, unfortunately. Maybe I should invent one.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Hey! Thanks!! I MUCH prefer no-pressure praise and approval— so I’m actually happier with the lack-of-award…Besides, I hate getting dressed up for stuff, and who has time to write thank-you notes?

      Your url is fantastic. Amusing, and memorable, which is something I totally flaked out on…

      Reply

  8. Tina

    I also just wandered over from Apartment Therapy, and I absolutely adore your writing style. Also, I now understand why my parents, who have been remodeling the houses we lived in since my sister and I were in the womb, appear at times to be insane. :D

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Thanks for commenting… You made my day. It’s going in my folder of “nice things strangers said, that made me feel awesome.” It’s like the antidote to residual high-school anxiety…

      I came from a family where no one is handy at all… so at first, Paul’s extreme fixing-ability seemed like an amazing miracle, and I wouldn’t have believed anyone who told me it might ever make me crazy.

      Reply

  9. rich

    hi. rich from the writer’s group today. i knew i had forgotten part of an answer to a question you asked, and i just remembered it now. it was about people leaving comments and you/we/us leaving comments.

    one random day i read a poem on someone’s blog, a woman from india, and i left a comment. had no idea who she was or how i happened to land on her blog, but i did. so i leave a comment, and she gives a most astonishing reply. she said something like, “thank you for leaving a comment. i have always wondered if you would ever read my writing. i have seen your comments on many other blogs and always hoped you might read something of mine. i’m glad you liked my poem.”

    i was amazed that a woman halfway around the world would have any idea who i was or what i was doing. for her to be thrilled just because i made a comment on her page was just too strange but also amazing. so – you just never know…

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      That’s interesting! The internet makes for a surprisingly small world…I met a woman, randomly via our blogs, who lives less than ten miles from me and is also renovating an old Victorian.

      Reply

  10. terry

    You are a breath of fresh air. Love your thoughts

    Reply

  11. Ileana Keltz

    First of all, let me say that I laughed so hard I was crying as I read about your DIY projects. I found you through Garden Web, on the kitchen forum because I am always on there, since we are remodeling our kitchen. I so identified with you. My hubby is a very talented woodworker, who is building our cabinets as I type this. I am always showing him my Pinterest boards and we are knee deep in Better Homes Kitchen and Bath magazines. The guided tour of your kitchen had me laughing so hard, my DH wondered what I was doing. Just as you dream of the beautiful Victorian home with the cabinets and 14ft ceilings, I drool over gray shingled colonials with white kitchens, marble counters, and a view of the Atlantic(preferably in Nantucket) I will have to post pictures of my kitchen, as each phase is done(we are on phase 2) DH says it should be done in the fall(I hope he means of this year) I love your garden! I too, love to garden AND…… I love Zinnias!!

    See, we should so be BFF’s. Love your blog. Keep us all posted on your latest project.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Your comment absolutely made my day… you MUST post photos of your kitchen!! I too am drawn to marble, but my inner control-freak is counseling me to choose something that won’t require me to scream at people every five minutes about touching it. We’ll see how that goes.

      Zinnias are the ONLY annual I’m doing this year… anything else in comparison is totally unsatisfying. I need to stake them this year, though… last summer, by August they were out of control and falling over… and probably made the mildew issue worse than it needed to be.

      So nice to “meet” you!! Thanks for commenting!!! I needed a new BFF!!

      Reply

      • Ileana Keltz

        Just curious, where do you get your zinnia seeds from? I am going to do state fair zinnias this year.

        Reply

  12. Burns the Fire

    Got here via the Bloggess and now I don’t want to go! Your blog is pure delight.

    Reply

  13. Vicki Palmer

    I just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog. I too love old mirrors and have a large one (my favorite) that came out of a Victorian home in Philly. I have mirrors all over my home and everytime I find another hubby looks at me like do we need another mirror. When I showed him pictures of your mirrors found on Craigslist I think he was thankful I hadn’t found one as large as some of those you have found. lol Anyway I will be following the progress on your Victorian renovation and enjoying your posts. Best wishes.
    Vicki

    Reply

  14. Ross

    I just discovered your blog today and absolutely LOVE it! Just wanted you to know :)

    Reply

  15. David

    I never, ever score on CL like that. Never. I’m mad at you…

    Reply

  16. Wendy

    I just discovered your blog/Facebook page, and I’m still cracking up over your story of finding the gigantic mirror on CL! My fondest desire in life is to have a Victorian home to restore, but since it’s never going to happen, I can now live vicariously through your remodel! Your blog is awesome & you are hilarious! Looking forward to your posts, so happy I found you! (Ok, that sounded kinda creepy, but I hope you understand what I mean! Lol) Btw, you should Google Portownsend, WA. It’s a lovely little town in Washington (State) & is full of beautiful Victorian homes. Check out the Sterett House….amazing!

    Reply

  17. Aimee Schmitt

    VB–you don’t know it yet….but I believe you are my new best friend. You express in words what I only thought I felt or believed! {and you have a cat!} oh what blog-land has provided for this new entrant into blogger-ville. Your newest follower and fan…{and friend}. -Queen Aimee

    Reply

  18. Charlotte Pilling

    love the mirror, and the house, think you are my long lost twin or something like that, I even have a black cat, his name is icky, yes icky, short for Icarus. I convinced my husband to buy me a 1894 queen ann victorian house (sight un-seen by him) simply for the fact that it had a tower and my nickname used to be rapunzel, its falling apart… we are putting it back together… actually right now we are ripping it apart more. Anyways I have become your 4th like. Keep up the good work

    Reply

  19. Lenora Raines

    I absolutely love your literary style and I rarely take the time to read blogs! Cathe Holden shared your craigslist kingdom mirror story on Facebook. I giggled till my sides ACHED and then passed it on! I am hooked now and will definitely follow your blog.
    Oh yes…we are kindred spirits in our “adventures in treasure hunting” on Craigslist. Your husbands’ responses are priceless and all too familiar. Thanks for the clever way you navigate the real communication that happens between couples! Lenora
    P.S. I have a lovely Maine coon cat named Sister..she rules the roost.

    Reply

  20. Molly

    OMG. Absolutely love your blog! In the middle of room renovations for our 1950’s home & this was an inspiration! Your writing style is awesome. Can’t wait to read more! Thank you!

    Reply

  21. LisaSadie

    I cannot quit sharing your posts on my FB page. I have laughed so much and can definitely relate. I love Paul. However large or small the item is, I get a surge in energy and my heart races when I find a treasure and I am anxious until I have the item in my possession. My tiny little island on the Georgia coast is full of treasure hunters so I really have to be on my toes and willing to hit the back roads of the mainland and tiny towns surrounding us to find a treasure now and then. I am a junkie and I have to get my fix now and then too. I can’t wait to see your next find.

    Reply

  22. Eliesa@ Pinterest Addict

    We have a kitty named Elvis too – and he is King of the animals in our house. He thinks he’s a dog. He doesn’t like it when I read your blog because I scare the crap out of him as he is sleeping on my chest and it makes me bark out a laugh!

    Reply

  23. Nina

    I’ve recently discovered your blog and it is great! I’m up to my ears in projects and general craziness. Today as I looked out the patio doors where the deck was last week, the view was so lovely that I wondered allowed why we were putting in another deck instead of *insert custom plan and various details the scope of which is only fully obtainable in my mind here.* To which my sister replied, “Okay, Victoria…”

    Reply

  24. Toots

    I can’t tell you how comforting it is to know there is someone in the world who would not ask me to explain myself when I go a little crazy over some idea. Most of my friends are “regular” people. I will never ever be “regular”. Heaven knows I’ve tried. I understand all too well your thought process. And Paul’s. What a wonderful match. I am at a point in life where I must live vicariously. Thanks for taking me along for the ride.
    A new reader.

    Reply

  25. Melissa

    You’re damned funny. I’m subscribing this second.

    Reply

  26. Julie

    Your blog is awesomely hilarious. My best discovery since I was put onto the Fug Girls years ago. (And a special thanks to the blogger of Take This Sofa, who posted a link to you, without which I would still be living in sad ignorance .)

    Reply

  27. Kristine

    My first time to your blog and I am in love! Can’t wait to read more!!

    Reply

  28. deb-u-naunt

    YOU are my favorite “Summer Reading List”!
    thanks for sharing yourself!

    Reply

  29. Brandon Turner

    I’m a guy… a straight one. This blog doesn’t suck, I guess.

    Ok, enough with the coy. You’re pretty awesome and your blog is pretty awesome. I found it because my friend shared something on Facebook about a mirror. I’ll be back.

    Probably.

    Reply

  30. Carolyn V. Williams

    I love that your name starts with a “V.” When I turned 18, I legally changed my name so that I had “V” as my middle initial. It’s the best letter. I emailed my husband snippets from your posts re: conversations between you and Paul. He said you all were our couple twins. Except you are better looking. I wish we knew each other in real life. My husband is glad we don’t. Keep writing. I’ve almost read the entire blog from start to finish since yesterday.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      You made my day.
      p.s.- Keep in mind that if you wrote a blog, you would ONLY post photos of yourself where you looked AWESOME.
      xo

      Reply

  31. Carisa

    I can’t even remember how I came to your site 4 or 5 days ago, but all my free time since then has been spent happily, madly, obsessively reading ALL your previous posts. I adore your blog and I hope you keep posting tons. You are hilarious and real and oddly informative. And you make me want to poke my husband with sticks until he learns how to make things and fix things and be generally awesome like Paul. To be fair, my husband is already awesome just with different areas of expertise. Perhaps I need multiple husbands, mayhaps a harem. Time to go find the fix-it husband. Husband number one won’t mind. Right?

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes

      Saving this in my “favorite comments folder.”
      I AM oddly informative.

      p.s.- my extra husband is going to bear striking resemblance to Channing Tatum. FYI.

      Reply

  32. Melissa

    Found your blog yesterday and just finished reading it all through. I flippin love it and love your voice!
    I think you and I are kindred spirits with the Craigslist escapades (although I haven’t scored as many good items here in Atlanta as you have!) and also with wonderful husbands who going along even when they don’t really wanna!
    I made sure to follow and I can’t wait to see how the house continues to come along!

    Reply

  33. Kristin

    Oh dear. I knew there had to be another couple out there as crazy as we are.

    Our mad, mad love for dead pigeon filled Victorians. (Second Empire, if you like to be specific like that.) Maybe I haven’t read far enough into the archives to see if you had pigeons, but that attic photo looks terrifyingly familiar.

    I’m thrilled to have found you.

    If you’d like to see a similar attic, look no further. http://thirdstory-ies.blogspot.com/2013/03/lucky-thirteen-love-story-and-attic.html

    Reply

  34. Valerie

    Just found this today. Yayyy!!! Erma Bombeck reincarnated!

    Reply

  35. Elizabeth

    I just found your blog as a result of seeing the piece you wrote for Houzz. Then I read about the Kingdom Mirror and now I’m hooked–thanks a lot! My husband and I are doing a rather large dormer-bumpout-renovation thing to our 1930s balloon frame house. I am extremely excited about having a walk-in closet and doubling the size of the bathroom.
    Cheers,
    Elizabeth

    Reply

  36. Tish

    So, I’m thinking you must be the long lost child who was stolen from me by gypsies years ago, right? lol My bf said this sounded so familiar to him, he simply had to send it to me to see if I recognized anyone I knew.

    I wish you could see the massive cherry wood bedroom furniture he had to drag up the hill to our house. It weighs a ton… probably from the marble top and all the marble columns on the dresser and queen bed (with tiara), and maybe the mirror (with tiara) might have something to do with it. I’m not sure. The drawers are velour-lined, and there’s lots of gilt edging and dentil molding that tmake it fit right into “the Vatican”, which is the name Harvard (my bf) gave my bedroom. He says every time he tries to touch me in there, he can hear the choir of angels. :)

    But yes… it was another of my Craig’s List finds. The whole house is filled with them. And I have Harvard’s eye roll timed down to the second when I tell him about my latest “must have”. He suffers in relative silence because he knows that to resist is futile. lol

    So, yes… I am subscribing to your blog. I have to keep up to date with what my long lost child is doing, after all. And maybe Harvard will feel he has a kindred spirit when he sees the CL adventures Paul is having at your place. Awesome! Keep up the good work!

    (((Hugs)))
    Tish

    Reply

  37. Jessica

    I found your blog through Houzz, while looking for bathroom pictures… I renovated 2 houses (one for practice, a 1945-er and one for real, a 1906-er). I can completely relate to all of this, except the mirror fetish. I have my own fetishes which vary depending on which room I am currently obsessing over. Luckily I live in Calgary now where Craigslist isn’t as popular, so I can’t hit it up to satisfy my needs. However, they use a site called Kijiji here, which isn’t as great, but sort of trying to do the same thing. After taking a break from the remodeling thing and moving overseas and renting for a while, I found myself living in Canada with a boyfriend that needs his condo redone. I joke that when I was looking for a boyfriend one of the musts was someone who needed their place remodeled. So, here I am again, obsessing over how to redo this bathroom. I always wanted to do a blog about my last remodel of the 1906 house in Portland, OR, but I was too busy trying to finish my master bedroom beadboard vaulted ceiling idea so I could stop sleeping in the dining room on an air mattress…

    Reply

  38. M

    I found your blog a few days ago and immediately abandoned my family so I could obsessively read all your posts starting way way back at the beginning. And now I shall obsessively refresh this page for days on end so as not to miss a reply or a new post. I find myself saddened and at lose ends that I’m up to date on your house-capades. WHAT will I read now?????? What will I do with my time??

    Reply

  39. Tracy

    I always love coming to your site! You’re so quirky and cute. Elvis is also adorable. I can’t wait to see your home when it’s all done, although I have a feeling that as soon as you’re done you’ll start over again – or fine a new home to master. Keep up the great work :)

    Reply

  40. Katherines Corner

    I enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog and I look forward to many more. Now stalking, ummm following ….you everywhere ( pinterest, facebook, etc.) Hugs

    Reply

  41. Fiona

    You cracked me up. I share your eagerness to search for treasures on CL and whip myself into a frenzy until I can go pick them up, usually without my husband’s knowledge unless I must use his truck…….. the mirror story was EXCELLENT! Kingdom indeed! You scored big on that one.

    Reply

  42. Rebecca Knight, MD

    I had to post your blog on my blog and plus I forgot to check the boxes so I know if you comment back. AND I should have put a blog in the website not my practice. It’s just when you say “your website” I automatically think the one with my name as the location…. I love your blog!!!! It has made me feel so much better about the madness that is our life. We are so much like both of you except we’re a blend of ADHD/OCD. Ok my husband is totally like you with the hyperfocus but sorry that’s not only OCD that’s actually more ADD. So you’re really ADD with hyperfocus. The ADD impulsiveness is what got you in the house in the first place. Not all ADD is just ping ponging around in space never landing on anything. In fact, many of us become much more OCD like and get paralysis from analysis because we so do not want to make a decision that we later regret like the wrong tile for the bathroom. So sorry for the psychoanalysis I just can’t help it, and anyway, I am joking about you being much much crazier, you’ve just exposed more of your craziness than I have and you are also better at writing. I need to work on that. So far no one really reads what I’m writing and it’s more of a diary of sorts. And as you can tell by comments I tend to write like I talk and perhaps I ramble. Your style is entertaining and conscise. LOVE IT! Someone to emulate!

    Reply

  43. Words on Houses: Victoria Elizabeth Barnes - House and Hill

    […] […]

    Reply

  44. Deborah Hargis

    I love Your Blog! I found it kind of by accident , isn’t that the best way, and truly admire what you have written and done! Your writing is very entertaining and also informative. My husband and I have been married 20 plus years and built one house from scratch outside New Orleans , then did a full renovation of a 70’s house in Charlotte, NC. We Are Still Married!!! And still renovating, the gardens at least. As you know, gardens are always a work in progress! Keep writing, and I will keep reading and laughing!

    Reply

  45. Mo

    Hi love what you have done with house. We also have a 1909 Victorian Thats being renovated room by room (I feel your pain :) ) right now we’re looking to paint the outside siding and we really like the blue color you have on your home. Is there any you can please take a picture of the color code from can and email it to me. Thank you so much.

    Reply

  46. Gill Bladen-Fielding

    Hi

    I have a siren in my head too
    goes on “Imusthavethat” alert on a virtually daily basis
    I am here to warn you and your poor husband that THIS WILL NEVER GO AWAY in fact it gets louder with age
    trust me

    Love your site, want a laugh?, look at our blog!
    Blog – sur -Aude at http://www.coteetcampagne.wordpress.com

    Reply

  47. willis

    Okay, so I stumbled on your blog because I’m that metaphoric kid standing at the edge of a pool debating whether to leap in or slowly slip in, letting my blood cool slowly to acclimatize to the water temp. Yeah, I, like you am way to verbose. What I mean is I’ve found and fallen in love with an old Victorian. It, however, is a total redo. Wiring, plumbing, walls. You know, simple stuff. The problem is, I’m in love with it. So it shouldn’t matter right? That and the fact I’ve never renovated so much as a thanksgiving center piece shouldn’t matter at all.
    In any case I’m in the, “should I REALLY do this?” Phase. Like all modern people into horribly derelict and abused overly ostentatious houses I surfed the net for advice. That’s where I found you and before I knew it had spent two hours reading post after post. Sad part? I still think the total renovation project is a good idea. I know, I need help.
    The house I can get for a song, duh. The actual project? I have no real clue. Hopefully I will find some guidance here in your posts. So far your posts, even the advice on blogging, has the images of a perfect, easy home rising from the rubble of the currently neglected building glowing as bright as ever. Sometimes I worry I will never break this habit of always seeing the beautiful potential of something. I mean, really, when has anything ever met it’s actual potential without driving the guy/gal behind the push crazy.
    In any case I’m off to imagine how repairing plaster can’t be as difficult as everyone claims and how the entry would look fantastic with intricate wood paneling even though it doesn’t exist there now.

    Cheers!

    Reply

  48. Melanie

    I just found your blog and girl… you rock! One of the most entertaining Blogs I ever read!

    Reply

  49. Mary Webster

    You crack me up! Keep writing!

    Reply

  50. Catherine

    So glad I just found your website, you are hilarious! Great writing style, I’m sticking around…

    ~Catherine
    Inspire Bohemia

    Reply

  51. Kristi

    Just had to say the Google+ Hometalk show was great today~ nice job. It was very funny at one point your cat kind of stole the show while you were talking…..started “playing the standup bass” in the foreground…..Loved it.

    Reply

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